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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Folks, lots of us watch satellite HD and OTA HD and digital stuff, most of which is only in Dolby Digital 2.0.


I remember my first experience with Dolby Digital 2.0, several years ago. Before HD tv and before OTA digital antenna for local digital and HD stations. Before my Theta Casablanca 2. Listening in straight DD 2.0, just using front left and right speakers, really sucked big time! Lack of soundstage, imaging, you name it, it sucked! Through some effort I set my then DVD player to downmix the track to PCM stereo, then set my old Casablanca 1 to Circle Cinema and it clearly sounded better, using all five main speakers, but still didn't sound that good.


But my Dolby Ditital 2.0 has become outstanding in the past year, thanks to 1) Theta Casablanca upgrade to 2 version, where I can set Menu to automatically convert DD 2.0 to Circle Cinema;

2) Recent upgrade from Superior to Xtreme DACs - sonics were already great with Superior, but even quieter and softer yet better sounding and more dynamic range with Xtreme DACs; 3) Upgrades this past year of moving Bryston 7B amplifiers to speaker and installing all Granite Audio power cords, silver balanced interconnects and 2'speaker cabling to my system, also improving sonics; 4) And of course I feel my other tweaks of PS Audio Power Plants, internal and a few external Bybee devices, really "clean" up that digital audio, too.


Consider me totally happy with Dolby Digital 2.0, provided its 384 bps compression, as half that rate for a local digital UPN station really sucks big time even played in "Dolby Digital +Circle Cinema" with my Theta CB2 (but for that station I watch the analog UPN OTA broadcast with the analog audio which sounds darn fine in my system). I frankly find myself never even noting whether a sountrack is 2.0 or 5.1 because both sound so good in my system. I am wondering how others feel about DD 2.0 384 bps stuff in their systems, and what processor, etc. you have and what mode you listen to DD 2.0 stuff in?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Come on, folks. I want to hear from folks with different systems and surround processors. Folks like Don O'Brien, John Kotches, Stacy Spears,

Stephen Dull, Andy Lammer, Alan Maher, etc. The challenge is out!!!! Lets find out what you think of Dolby Digital 2.0, as translated if at all by your receiver or surround processor, vs Dolby Digital 5.1 and even DTS in your system, how happy are you with it???? This is an interesting topic, or isn't it? It should be, for those of us who like to watch HDTV and OTA Digital stations in particular, as most of the audio is broadcast in Dolby Digital 2.0 only.
 

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My experience with DD 2.0 is older DVDs -- I don't watch OTA material at all. I find DD 2.0 on DVD to be lacking on my current system, at least compared to a 5.1 soundtrack.


The element I probably miss the most is the subwoofer. My speakers (all 5) are B&W 601's. So when you've just got 2 channels, it doesn't have enough impact.


My next major project is trying to tame the acoustics of my room. The front half is fairly "bright", and I've still got some noticible echo -- hopefully the right amount of treatment will solve this, and improve my 2 channel soundstage.


I prefer to switch into DPL to listen to 2 channel material. When I upgrade next, I'd like to get a DPL II processor and will likely listen to DD2.0 material in this mode.


Roo
 

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Steve,


It is clear that DPL decoding isn't as effective as DD5.1. The difference is particularly noticable when programs like Showtime's "Stargate SG-1" drop out of 5.1 to 2.0 during their end credits. Have you had a chance to compare the other surround decoding methods in those circumstances? Of course, it isn't clear to what extent the differences are due to how they're mixed in the studio.


I suspect you aren't getting much response, because it's mostly an "of course" topic, not one with much controversy. When you listen to 2 channel source material, "of course" you want to hear it in the best format available to you. If you have a DPL-II decoder, "of course" that's what you'll use. If you only have a DPL decoder, then that's what you'll use. "Of course," if you're a two-channel purist, you'll only use a matrix decoder on material that intentionally includes matrixed surround information.


My separates are by Marantz (AV- & MM-9000), so "of course" I have to make do with just DPL with optional THX processing. I admit to being annoyed by the large number of digital cable channels that broadcast monaurally on two channels.


I've been pleasantly surprised at how effective DPL decoding can be with current pop music. It's clear many music titles are being mixed with surround channel information. Choruses (the backup singers, I mean) are often separated that way, for example.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Selden, does your Marantz process Dolby Digital 2.0 into Dolby Pro Logic for say five channel sound, or does your Maantz simply play DD 2.0 as 2.0 using front left and right speakers only???


All I know is that so long as the Dolby Digital 2.0 is at 384 bps, not half of that as a few local stations like UPN do, that it sounds fantastic with all the junkola I've done with my system and

even I would have to A-B having both 2.0 and 5.1

to hear the difference - my 2.0 is so darn good that I don't find myself missing the 5.1, and I think that's pretty amazing.


What about other Casablanca 2 with Circle Surround owners, but perhaps without my internal and external Bybee tweaks, PS Audio Power Plants, and/or Granite Audio power cords and cables?

How do you like DD 2.0 in your system compared to 5.1, if you watch this sort of program material with HD and OTA digital channels?


How about Lexicon MC-12, MC-1, etc. owners with Logic 7? How does DD 2.0 translated to Logic 7, or if you have DPL 2 by chance, sound in your system?


Same goes for Tag Mclaren owners with DPL2?


Same goes for other processor and receiver owners.


Here's my way of thinking. I have surprised the heck out of myself by how good DD 2.0 sounds in my system as translated into Circle Cinema. I want to hear from other folks, given what they have in their system, how they compare the sonics of DD 2.0 to DD 5.1. And for you folks that don't like your DD 2.0 compared to your DD 5.1, perhaps we can all learn stuff in this thread of stuff you can do to better your enjoyment of DD 2.0 sources, for if you watch much satellite HD or OTA digital programming, you've got a lot of DD 2.0 program material, don't you???
 

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Steve,


Yes, The AV-9000's DPL logic processes DD2.0 just like any other 2 channel input. If there's a matrixed signal, all 5.1 speakers are used. Since it's just DPL, both surrounds get the same signal, modified by THX decorrelation, if that's enabled. I just verified this with one of the HBO channels. FWIW "Bagger Vance" is showing in DD5.1 right now,

with thunder rumbling all around :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So Selden, what you're saying is that your Marantz will take Dolby Digital 2.0 and process it as say five channel Dolby Pro Logic, right? But even so, your five channel DPL translation of DD 2.0 doesn't sound near as good as the same video source if it were in DD 5.1, right?
 

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Steve,


Yes, the DPL decoding can be applied to any two channel input other than 24/96 stereo PCM. Some two channel source material I've listened to has had very effective surround sound encoding.


The few times I've compared DPL with DD5.1 for the same source material, DPL has been the worse of the two.


Unfortunately, however, I'm not sure what would constitute a fair comparison. How can one tell in any given case if the difference is intrinsic to the encoding/decoding or if it's because the editors made different choices while recording the audio tracks? And what about when the 5.1->2.0 downmix is automated? Surely the algorithm doing that has to be taken into account somehow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Selden, as always, you raise good points. What counts for me, in the end, is that DD 2.0 movies sound sensational in my system and don't leave me panting for DD 5.1, even though the latter is technically better and if we were to A-B them in my system, certainly we would hear the difference. But the DD 2.0 movies sound fantastic and I'm so happy with them. Now, if I didn't have Circle Surround, but only used Dolby Pro Logic, it wouldn't be as good, as Circle Surround is much better. But I can't wait to try DPL 2 which is to be out for the CB2 hopefully by end of first quarter 2002.
 

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Steve my only experience with DD 2.0 is DVD with older movies. Usually those movies were originally mono sound tracks and I like to use THETA's analog matrix mode with these types of movies. This mode as you know spreads the sound over the front three speakers. To me this is what you would most likely heard if you had seen the movie in the theater. I am very satisfied with the results.
 

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I recently traded in my Lexicon DC-2 for the MC-12. The old Logic7 was outstanding for enhancing DD 2.0 sources, however, it never occurred to me to compare it to DD 5.1 or DTS sources. The old Logic7 was good but not in the league with discreet channel.


The new Logic7 in the MC-12 has changed all that. Two-channel and matrixed sources now sound like discreet sources - full, detailed, enveloping. Further the flexibility in the MC-12 software allows one to tailor the surround processing to suit equipment/room specifics, as well as individual preferences.


As the credits rolled after 'Band of Brothers' recently, my attention was focused on something I was reading when the audio just bloomed around my listening position. I looked up to find the credits had stopped, the 5.1 had finished and HBO's DD2.0 (Logic7) had taken over. In other words the difference can be very noticeable even when you're not looking for it.


I have not found this to be true with DPLII, which I find to be good, maybe in the league with the old Logic7, but certainly not the new L7.


The steering in new Logic7 is very aggressive and can be confused at times with matrixed analog signals I sometimes feed from cable TV. This was true even with the old L7. DPLII is more forgiving in this regard.


For me the bottom line is that these new generation surround modes have breathed new life into 2-channel and matrixed sources allowing them to sound like discreet sources.


Regards - Gene
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Gene, thanks so much for the info! Over at the Audio forum previous MC-1 owners have commented on how improved the sonics of the new MC-12 are, and

now you have informed us how much better translation of two channel, whether PCM or DD 2.0, is with the new Logic 7 and even DPL 2. Reminds me of the sonic improvements I heard in my system at various stages, including the Casablanca 2 upgrade, and more recently the Xtreme DACs

(or even changes to Granite Audio power cords and cabling). That you can now listen to say some Dolby Digital 2.0 movies, in Logic 7, and not feel deprived compared to the movie being in Dolby Digital 5.1, says a lot for the MC-12!!! I hope we hear from other MC-12 owners on this. (I admit the MC-12 I heard at the Phoenix Home Theater Expo a few months ago, that system sounded thin and lousy, but sounds very much like that was due to other factors and not the MC-12, in view of the glowing sonic reports coming in.)


And come on, fellow Theta CB2 owners, please compare how you like Dolby Digital 2.0, in Circle Surround, in your system compared to Dolby Digital 5.1. Most of you guys don't have all my tweakiness so it will be interesting to see how you rate it in your system! Thanks.
 

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To add to Gene's post, Logic 7 on the MC-12 really shines the most on 2.0 sources..


In many cases I'll even watch a 2.0 mix of a film in L7 instead of the 5.1 mix. This would be primarily movies where the soundstage is all front dominated with very little happening in the rears..


On a 5.1 mix, Logic 7 basically leaves the front steering as is and redirects the info in the rears..with 2.0 sources, L7 steers info into all 7 speakers creating a much more discrete soundfield in the sides and rears..


If the 5.1 mix has good use of the rears and has a decent .1 track then I'll listen in 5.1 L7 modes..


I'm definately a multichannel fan - It's been a real joy to listen to many CD's all over again in Logic 7.
 

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Okay, the JAWS HDTV broadcast like a year or two ago.....


ABC was broadcasting the HD version with 5.1 audio. I switched between the 5.1 and a downmixed 2 channel output from my DTC-100. Surround processor (at the time) was a Lexicon MC-1. Display was a Sony D50Q shooting onto a 100" 16:9 screen. Amplifier was a B&K AVP5000, and speakers were the Atlantic Technology System 350.


The 5.1 just sounded "to directionalized" and nasty. So I switched to analog audio output of the DTC-100 and had the Lexicon process a 2.0 soundtrack using THX setting. The differences was a warm and enveloping (one of the few times I can accurately use that word) sound. Was the 'quality' better? No. Was the experience better? Yes. I felt like I was wrapped up in an audio blanket and everything blended so well. This goes for the movie, sound effects, etc.


I love multi-channel/5.1 sound but often times I think the multi-channel aspect is blown out of proportion by those recording it. It's as if an 'enveloping' sound field (I thought that was the goal) isn't as important as making the viewer aware there are different sounds coming from 5 distinct locations.


Just my .02


-Brian
 
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